Wednesday, August 03, 2005

The cultural vacuum of celebrity life

BREAKFAST TIME at Beelzebub Mansions. Kedgeree, kidneys and a large glass of port. All is well with the world.

My man Whittaker has been up all night watching Big Brother Live and is consequently late with the papers. Mrs Beelzebub’s People’s Friend has yet to be ironed, so I lend her my copy of The Times. Then the trouble starts.

“Oh look,” she says. “Apparently Sienna has kicked out Jude after he slept with the nanny and is now snogging Orlando who she once went out with after she was married to Jude while he was married to Sadie and she may even be six weeks pregnant.”

“Meanwhile, Jennifer is in tears after Brad went off with Angeline and Tom has got engaged to Katie who’s also got a new film coming out. No mention of Boris’s latest.”

Well thank you for that. I feel the bile rising and have to leave the table, forgoing a second plate of devilled kidneys. Outside I have to cool off with a spot of magpie shooting.

I mean, who are these fucking people? And why are they infecting my television and newspapers? I understand that some of them are film actors, but I can’t recall a single movie any of them has ever been in. All I get are screeds of meaningless tabloidese and daft women wittering on about the situation on breakfast TV.

It’s not as if we were talking Richard Burton or Peter O’Toole, Elizabeth Taylor or Lauren Bacall. They were real film stars, not the know-nothing needy nobodies who purport to be celebrities these days. And that’s why none of our children have realistic ambitions anymore. If idiots like those detailed above can become famous, then surely so can they?

When I were a lad, if you asked the average kid what they wanted to be when they grew up you’d get realistic answers. Train driver was a favourite, along with vet, policeman and nurse. The ginger kid who smelt a bit funny wanted to work in a slaughterhouse, but I think that had more to do with his unresolved emotional issues and deep longing to murder his taunting classmates, rather than any kind of planned career structure.

Ask the average 10-year-old these days what their ambitions are and they either want to be a pop star or a footballer. That’s it. The idea that both fields of employment are firstly highly limited in terms of vacancies and secondly dependant on abundant talent doesn’t seem to have occurred to them. They’ve watched the telly and read the papers. They want some of that instant fame.

So what happens to them when the harsh realities of life kick in? What happens when the next Robbie Williams finds out that he can’t sing or when the next Wayne Rooney is told that he can’t play? We have to pick up the pieces, that’s what. And it’s never their fault, oh no. It’s society ganging up on them.

There is a way to tackle this distorted ambition – classroom quotas. Kids should be told at an early age what their future occupation is going to be, based on government forecasts of labour needs.

“You, Jenkins Minor, are going to be an accountant, so to help you develop the kind of small-minded, unimaginative, number-obsessed mentality that will help you in later life, you can be milk monitor. And kindly address the possibility of re-useable straws, so maximising the lips/bottle ratio of Class 3B.”

“Dixon, you’ll be a policeman, Titmuss, a nurse. Abu Hamza, you’ll do as a rucksack salesman at Millett’s.”

“Paul Dobrowski. You’re ginger and you smell a bit. Down to the slaughterhouse with you.”

You get the picture. And surely that’s better than our next generation wasting their hopes and dreams on fanciful notions that are doomed to end in tears when they could be learning how to unblock a toilet or change the spark plugs on a Rover 25?

WHICH BRINGS us to the latest series of Big Brother. Now I have defended the quality of this programme in the past when it was fashionable for the leather-elbowed Guardianistas to ridicule the “ordinary” people taking part. But no more.

It appears that this time around the producers have solved the tricky issue of casting by simply recruiting the inmates of a local psychiatric ward. We have had a foul-mouthed fishwife whose highpoint was to relieve herself in public like a dray horse in the street. There’s been a comedy drag artist who claimed he’d neglected to tell his parents he was a poofter, although I can’t imagine that red stilettos are common footwear in Penge.

We’ve got a wig-wearing nurse who’s a compulsive liar, a toffee-nosed black Tory whose murky past has still to be unveiled by the tabloids, a geek suffering from an advanced case of Asperger’s Syndrome and a hairy midget Geordie called Anthony who says he’s a “Seventies disco dancer”, whatever one of those is.

But worse, much worse than those, we have Craig, a hairdresser from Norfolk who is an effeminate, man-boobed, grasping control freak, with a severe personality disorder and a crush on the aforementioned Anthony. I tell you, if Anthony had been female, Craig would have been nicked for attempted rape.

And then there’s Kinga, an overweight 20-year-old whose self-esteem is so utterly shot to pieces that she feels the need to flubber her enormous breasts at all and sundry while impersonating an unconventional wine cooler. (Enough said. You’ll know if you saw it.) I wonder what her poor parents must think.

It truly is car crash television: wall-to-wall freaks who are facing some serious counselling once they get out. I’d rather watch that documentary about people with Obsessive Compulsive Disorders who have to wash their hands 37 times an hour. At least they’re proper nutters, not just teenage tosspots.

STUPIDITY ALERT: A dance teacher is to take a PhD at Salford University in the art of “air guitar playing”. For those of you who live in a cultural vacuum (commonly known as Wales) this is the dance-like behaviour of playing an imaginary guitar displayed by 40-year-old Status Quo fans with bald spots on top and inappropriately long hair at the back.

I presume that Salford University (snigger) is publicly-funded. I therefore feel it only fair to point out to Mr Gordon Brown that in response to this educational abberation, I shall in future be paying “air tax”. Thank you.

SO THESE mad mullahs who are preaching hatred while on benefits and supporting the suicide bombers – how come they’re never the one’s on the Circle Line train with the big bag of fertilizer and batteries? If I was a radical young Muslim, I think I’d want to know.

In other terrorist news, Paddington was the subject of a major security alert when armed police ordered a small Peruvian bear to “step away from the suitcase”, while it now emerges that the Brazilian shot dead last week didn’t jump the ticket barriers, didn’t run away from police and wasn’t wearing a large, padded coat. It was, however, a bomber jacket.

IRRITATING TV advert alert: That one for Blockbuster, the video rental people, that features a racially-modified group of young women (one white, one black, one with a touch of the tar-brush, no rucksacks), cracking supposedly funny double entendres while drinking wine and eating crisps in a very modern fashion.

“Stick it in.” “As often as you like.” “Then move onto the next one”. Pathetic. Absolutely pathetic. Bernard Manning has got better material.

O The views of Mr Beelzebub are purely personal and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Editor or staff of this website, of anyone surprised to learn that Lulu successfully passed her three-week cholesterol challenge, of anyone surprised that they bought those tiles that keep falling off the space shuttle from B&Q, or of anyone not surprised learn that their dishwasher, which cleans dishes, now requires its only special dishwasher washing tablets to keep it clean.


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